The Massachusetts Department of Children and Families has been plagued with problems over the course of 2015. But those tragedies may have had a positive reaction - more adoptions.
Cases of alleged child abuse, like those involving Jack Loiselle and Bella Bond, have reminded the public of the need for adoptive families.
This Christmas will be a monumental one for the Akins family. It's their first with 18-month-old Lilly.
Bill and Jill Akins adopted her this year through the DCF after over a decade of struggling to start a family.
"Every morning when she gets up, every time I come home, and she greets me - it is the best thing ever," said Bill Akins. "It just has redefined my life."
They are not alone - this year, the number of adoptions in Massachusetts through the DCF has risen 20 percent.
Lisa Funaro, the executive director of the Massachusetts aAoption Resource Exchange, says this year, 194 children have permanent families for Christmas.
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"I think there were more kids in care over the last two years, so volume plays some part in it," said Funaro.
But that's not all - in the past year, DCF was also plagued by tragedies. The Bella Bond case gained national attention, reminding people about the need for stable, loving homes.
And that's part of the reason the Akins chose adoption through DCF.
"In private adoptions, there's families waiting for children," said Bill Akins. "In DCF, there's children waiting for families."
While the process was emotional and, at times trying, the Akins' feel it was all worth it to have Lilly in their lives.
"The first time I heard those words, 'Mama,' my heart melted. Absolutely melted," said Jill Akins. "It's been a joy."
So much so that "Joy" is now Lilly's middle name.